Blue substance on Filter

Meesh77

Member
Jun 10, 2016
8
Oak Forest/IL
Hi,

I have a blue substance on my filter when I take it out to clean it. The pool chemicals are all in balance. I have an automatic cholorinator that has a blueish color plastic tube that holds the chlorine tablets in the chlorinator. Any chance it could be from that? I also have a pool heater, so I am wondering if the warm water is causing the color of the plastic to bleed. I attached a couple of pictures. Any thoughts? I just want to make sure this isn't something harmful to my equipment or people. :confused:
 

Attachments

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
Are you sure that is blue and not green? How long have you been using that mineral cartridge?

To me, that looks like copper staining.

Do you own a test kit? Can you post a complete set of test results? That will help us diagnose the situation.

Dom
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,471
Probably copper from the mineral cartridge and possibly some from the heater and other sources like algaecide. I would take the steps necessary to prevent any more copper getting in the water.
 

Meesh77

Member
Jun 10, 2016
8
Oak Forest/IL
Are you sure that is blue and not green? How long have you been using that mineral cartridge?

To me, that looks like copper staining.

Do you own a test kit? Can you post a complete set of test results? That will help us diagnose the situation.

Dom
The mineral cartridge is new this year. We get a new one every year. Ok, but now that you are mentioning copper, we know for sure that there is copper in the water. We lost our 3 year old heater at the end of the summer last year due to copper corrosion. We learned a very important (and expensive) lesson that it is imperative to keep your pH in balance when you have a heater. The copper levels were off the charts according to the computer at the pool store. So fast forward to this summer. When opening the pool, we had the water tested for copper. It was still present, but at a much lower level. So we followed their instructions to treat. When we went back to have it tested again, their computer was down. Of course. We asked if we should do a complete drain and start over and he said it wasn't necessary, that it should dissipate and we can just do a full drain next summer.

I haven't had the water tested again, but I know there is still some level of copper in the water because my hair is very sensitive to it and if I get it wet and leave it to dry, it gets a little green. This is actually how we found out about the copper in the water last summer because my entire head of hair turned green. We figured we would just get through this summer and drain it before starting up next year. Is this a bad plan? Is there something we should be doing now?

I do have the full kit and kaboodle test kit. I haven't done all of them yet this weekend, but I can if you think it will help. I just dipped the test strip and all was in range.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
The mineral cartridge is new this year. We get a new one every year. Ok, but now that you are mentioning copper, we know for sure that there is copper in the water. We lost our 3 year old heater at the end of the summer last year due to copper corrosion. We learned a very important (and expensive) lesson that it is imperative to keep your pH in balance when you have a heater. The copper levels were off the charts according to the computer at the pool store. So fast forward to this summer. When opening the pool, we had the water tested for copper. It was still present, but at a much lower level. So we followed their instructions to treat. When we went back to have it tested again, their computer was down. Of course. We asked if we should do a complete drain and start over and he said it wasn't necessary, that it should dissipate and we can just do a full drain next summer.

I haven't had the water tested again, but I know there is still some level of copper in the water because my hair is very sensitive to it and if I get it wet and leave it to dry, it gets a little green. This is actually how we found out about the copper in the water last summer because my entire head of hair turned green. We figured we would just get through this summer and drain it before starting up next year. Is this a bad plan? Is there something we should be doing now?

I do have the full kit and kaboodle test kit. I haven't done all of them yet this weekend, but I can if you think it will help. I just dipped the test strip and all was in range.
I'm sorry that my question was not clear, what I meant was 'how long have you been using a mineral system?' Those mineral packs usually contain copper, adding more to your pool.

What did you do to lower your copper levels as reported by the pool store? Copper does not dissipate, the only way to lower copper levels is to use a sequestering agent to put the copper into suspension and drain water.

I think it would be best to get a current copper level. If you go to the pool $tore for that do not let them talk you into any magic potions.

And yes, it would be very helpful to have a complete set of test results.

Dom
 
Last edited:

Meesh77

Member
Jun 10, 2016
8
Oak Forest/IL
I'm sorry that my question was not clear, what I meant was 'how long have you been using a mineral system?' Those mineral packs usually contain copper, adding more to your pool.

What did you do to lower your copper levels as reported by the pool store? Copper does not dissipate, the only way to lower copper levels is to use a sequestering agent to put the copper into suspension and drain water.

I think it would be best to get a current copper level. If you go to the pool $tore for that do not let them talk you into any magic potions.

And yes, it would be very helpful to have a complete set of test results.

Dom
And this is exactly why I searched out and found this site. Half the time I feel like they don't know what they are talking about and different people say different things. We have been using a mineral system since we got our pool, in 2010. Our cholorinator has one slot for chlorine, and one slot for the mineral cartridge. The instructions they gave to try and lower the copper was using a product designed to remove metals from the water, and they made sure to give me the one that is copper free. I think it was called Metal away or something like that. We had to pour it in, then run the filter for 6 hours on high. Making sure not to chlorinate the pool within 2 days of doing this. We did this step prior to shocking our pool when first opening it. I can try and get a current copper level from them, assuming their computer is working. Half the time it is broken. I will try to do that today and post back. I won't buy anything until I hear back from you because they will most certainly try to sell me something.

I just did all the tests and here are my results:

FC - 11 *I honestly do not know why this is so high. We haven't been doing anything to add chlorine to the pool except use the chlorinator. I have it turned down to 2.
CC - 1
TC- 12
TA - 160 *this is definitely higher than last week. It was at 140. I did add Borax 2 days ago to bump up the pH. It also downpoured this morning.
CYA - 100
pH - 7.2

This is my first year using the total kit, as I felt I needed to get a better handle on things, so I am definitely still learning. The only thing that I ever seem to have to do is add Borax to raise the pH. I recognize the alkalinity is high, but I guess I assumed that was from the copper and that I just had to deal with it this year, as it didn't seem anything would work. At this point, I don't want to drain my pool if at all avoidable, as I live in Chicago, and we only have about a month and a half left.

I really appreciate your advise here. I am making it my mission to become a master at this pool chemistry thing.

- - - Updated - - -

I completely agree! That's why I bought the full test kit this year as I really need to get a better handle on things. See my results in my response to another post.

- - - Updated - - -

Very good that you have the kit, but you really must use it here. You've already lost one heater... definitely time to take charge.
I completely agree! See my results in my response to another reply.
 

Meesh77

Member
Jun 10, 2016
8
Oak Forest/IL
I'm sorry that my question was not clear, what I meant was 'how long have you been using a mineral system?' Those mineral packs usually contain copper, adding more to your pool.

What did you do to lower your copper levels as reported by the pool store? Copper does not dissipate, the only way to lower copper levels is to use a sequestering agent to put the copper into suspension and drain water.

I think it would be best to get a current copper level. If you go to the pool $tore for that do not let them talk you into any magic potions.

And yes, it would be very helpful to have a complete set of test results.

Dom
I just got the copper tested and it is at a 1.0. Yikes! They recommended a product called Metal Away. It's a liquid that he said I should use half at a time. It's $28 and he thinks I'll need 2 bottles to get down to zero. He also said I should buy this screen/filter product to put in my skimmer basket that will catch it all. That's $29. Any advice thoughts on what to do?
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
Yes, 1.0ppm of copper is an issue.

Are you 100% sure on that name "Metal Away", I can't seem to find info on it.

I've found "Metal Free", is that it? BTW products like these do not magically make the metals disappear, they simply cause the metals to be suspended in the water preventing them from depositing on you and the pool surfaces. The metals still need to be removed with water drains while they are suspended. Did the pool $tore explain that?

Did you decide to stop using the mineral packs? They are adding to your problem.

Are the skimmer filters called "Cu-later"?

I'm not anexpert on metals, but I know someone who is, I'll see if I can get them to stop by this thread.

Dom
 

Meesh77

Member
Jun 10, 2016
8
Oak Forest/IL
Yes, 1.0ppm of copper is an issue.

Are you 100% sure on that name "Metal Away", I can't seem to find info on it.

I've found "Metal Free", is that it? BTW products like these do not magically make the metals disappear, they simply cause the metals to be suspended in the water preventing them from depositing on you and the pool surfaces. The metals still need to be removed with water drains while they are suspended. Did the pool $tore explain that?

Did you decide to stop using the mineral packs? They are adding to your problem.

Are the skimmer filters called "Cu-later"?

I'm not anexpert on metals, but I know someone who is, I'll see if I can get them to stop by this thread.

Dom
Yes, Metal Free is what it was. Sorry about that. And the skimmer filter was called CU-Later. He explained that this was going to be what took it out of the water. So basically, the copper would bind to the Metal Free and when it went through to the filter, would get caught in the CU-Later. He said it would the it out of the water. But sounds like that might not be right. I would be sooooo appreciative if you could get your metal expert friend to chime in I dont want to spend a bunch of money unnecessarily. We will definitely be draining our pool and starting with all new fresh water so I'm just trying to get through this summer without harming my equipment and health. I mentioned the mineral cartridge to him and he said there's no copper in them so I could leave it in. Do you think we should still remove it?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,691
Houston, Texas
Which mineral cartridge are you using? Pretty much all mineral cartridges that I know of contain copper and/or silver. They both act as an algaecide, but both also can cause stains.

Your CYA is also too high, which will also require that you drain and refill the pool to get that level down. The tablets you are using are probably causing the high CYA levels, and the CYA may be higher than 100 since that is the upper threshold of the test. You need to stop using tablets and switch to liquid chlorine. You can add sequestrant to get you to the end of your swim season, then drain and refill the pool as part of getting it ready to close, but that high CYA level is going to require high levels of chlorine which breaks down sequestrant. You may need to sit down with a paper and pencil and work out what is going to be most cost efficient for you to get through the end of the summer. Drain and refill now or sequester weekly, increase chlorine daily, and drain/refill at the end of summer. If you drain & refill at the end of summer then you only have to refill to the normal closing level for your pool.
 

Meesh77

Member
Jun 10, 2016
8
Oak Forest/IL
Which mineral cartridge are you using? Pretty much all mineral cartridges that I know of contain copper and/or silver. They both act as an algaecide, but both also can cause stains.

Your CYA is also too high, which will also require that you drain and refill the pool to get that level down. The tablets you are using are probably causing the high CYA levels, and the CYA may be higher than 100 since that is the upper threshold of the test. You need to stop using tablets and switch to liquid chlorine. You can add sequestrant to get you to the end of your swim season, then drain and refill the pool as part of getting it ready to close, but that high CYA level is going to require high levels of chlorine which breaks down sequestrant. You may need to sit down with a paper and pencil and work out what is going to be most cost efficient for you to get through the end of the summer. Drain and refill now or sequester weekly, increase chlorine daily, and drain/refill at the end of summer. If you drain & refill at the end of summer then you only have to refill to the normal closing level for your pool.
We are using a Nature 2 mineral cartridge. It's the brand that is sold at The Great Escape. So just do I'm understanding, you are saying that we should either:

1. Drain and refill the pool now.

Or

2. Sequester weekly, raise chlorine daily, and then drain and refill to closing level at the end of the summer.

Is that right? I guess I'm wondering how much I'd have to use weekly of the sequestering agent and am I supposed to keep my chlorine at a particular level other than what I normally do?

Also, are you saying I should stop using tablets forever or just until we get the new water? Same for the mineral cartridge. If I used liquid chlorine only, then my chlorinator is useless and I guess I would remove it.

I so appreciate all the help I'm getting here. It's really helping me to understand what's happening and why. You are all the best!
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Hi Meesh.
I am not a fan of Metal Free because I've been involved with a number of threads where it doesn't/hasn't effectively sequestered the metal...its citirc acid, not the HEDP (phosphonic acid) that we normally recommend for metal sequestering. My hunch is that, given the citric acid, this product's mgfs believe it will reicipate metal for carryout...which is a controversial kettle o snakes and IME, partly hogwash ;)

The two brands we like for sequestering ar Metal Magic by proteam or Jacks Magic, each available online at Pool Chemicals, Hot Tub Chemicals and Supplies | Pool Geek , which is located in Michigan so would be a fast ship for you. The need for sequestrant and subsequent wear off is dependent on metal load. 1 ppm copper is very high.

In your shoes, I'd do a 50% water change now to get BOTH your cya and copper levels down by half, THEN sequester the copper. You will use less chlorine and less sequestrant for what we have left of the season.

Some people report the belief that CUlator works but I personally did not find it effective for cost, but am on well and have a constant source of metal. Your mileage may vary. The company is good about supporting folks who use it and giving tips, so it may indeed help in this case. Again, it will be of more benefit at a much lower copper level than what you have.

As for Nature2...at TFP we typically recommend discontinuing its use due to metal load and generally avoid the use of pucks because they constantly increase your cya, which makes the critical [fc/cya][/FC/cya] target difficult to mantain.

Sometimes, though in northern climes, the cya will zero out over the winter (especially if you don't open early) in which case some people can get away with using stabilized products and keeping an eye on FC. Eg. I used to use pucks for 2 or 3 weeks in October while letting the pool cool down for closure and at the same time deliberately increasing my cya a bit before winter...but by increasing, I mean from 30 to 50. I'm now SWG, so my cold-weather strategy will be liquid chlorine ;)

But generally, its easiest to keep your cya at a constant and dose with liquid chlorine daily to the FC:cya targets.

Since you do have a heater and can get back up to temp reasonably quickly, my vote is for at least a partial drain to ease the management required for the rest of the season.
Hope that helps give you some things to consider.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,691
Houston, Texas
Swampwoman has a lot of experience dealing with metals, so I would follow her advice. Your pool store has no idea what they are talking about. Here is a link to the material data safety sheet: http://appatek.com/MSDS/Zodiac/CF.pdf which clearly shows these cartridges contain copper and silver ions. From this point on if you have to get anything from a pool store I would research their answer before taking their word for anything.
 

wjr75

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 6, 2013
895
IL
When I first bought our house and had a Nature2 and used PhosFree directly in my skimmer my cartridges got that. I got rid of both after converting to TFP and haven't had it since.